Today at Samsung’s Unpacked 2015 event, the company announced that its mobile payment feature, Samsung Pay, is launching in the U.S. in September. In many ways, Samsung Pay works like Apple Pay. It lets seamlessly pay with your phone, and it should be very easy for merchants to add Samsung Pay support.
Behind the scene, Samsung uses NFC, fingerprint verification and digital tokenization so that merchants can’t see your credit card number. The company takes advantage of LoopPay’s technology — Samsung acquired LoopPay in February.
The company started rolling out its service in South Korea, and will now be available to U.S. customers. If merchants already support NFC payments like Apple Pay and Android Pay, chances are it will be easy to turn on Samsung Pay support as well.
But that’s not all. LoopPay had a neat feature, letting you pay with your phone even with regular card readers. It sends special signals, and it works without NFC. Samsung Pay also supports this feature.
All these services require biometric authentication via hardware, meaning that you need to have a device with a fingerprint sensor to use Samsung Pay. That’s why all the latest Samsung phones have this kind of sensor, such as the Galaxy S6, the Galaxy S6 Edge, and the newly announced Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 Edge Plus.
The other difficult part of the integration for Samsung is working with banks and payment processing companies. Apple is still rolling out support for more banks in the U.S., and Samsung probably won’t support as many banks as Apple from the very beginning.
The company is also working hard to bring Samsung Pay to Europe as soon as possible. Beating Apple to Eurozone support could be a great asset for the service.
Samsung Pay is a great illustration of the company’s effort to differentiate itself from the rest of the Android ecosystem. Instead of going all in with Android Pay, the company is working on its own payment service.
But for now, Android Pay is mostly a developer tool made available via API. It’s a great way for app developers to accept payments. Samsung Pay seems to be more oriented toward real world interaction. Let’s see if it’s a big enough selling point for Samsung’s new devices and whether it will turn around the company’s mobile business.